Copywriting Master John Carlton on How to Write Copy That Forces People to Buy from You

Hello ninjas and then jets welcome to another episode of the exposure ninja digital marketing podcast my name is Tim
I'm head ninja at exposure ninja and best-selling digital marketing author this show is all about helping you to
generate more leads and sales through your website and boy we have a treat for you today the absolute legend one and
only direct response copywriting hero John Carlton has come on to the show now for those of you who don't know John
he's one of a kind of a list of direct response copywriters who was active back in the day of direct mail and magazine
ads and newspaper ads and infomercials and these guys were they're responsible for some of the most powerful adverts of
all time and he'll talk through some of these during the show if you're watching this on YouTube we've got an extra
special treat for you because we're actually going to show you some of the ads that he wrote so we're gonna show
you on the screen as the podcast is playing so you can see the sorts of stocks it's one thing to talk about
these ads but if you actually see them you'll see that the style is is unlike anything that you see online today
it absolutely grabs your attention and it's the most interesting thing you'll read all day which is when he talks to
you that's exactly what he was going for so real chance to learn from a true legend and take those principles that
were so well established and so effective in infomercials Direct Mail magazine and newspaper ads and translate
them to today's world of Facebook ads YouTube videos website copy you know how do we use these things and actually what
he says is actually the principles haven't really changed we just need to tweak the usage slightly so fascinating
guy some great stories and I think you'll really enjoy them of course if you want help with your digital
marketing then you can request your free web site and digital marketing review from the ninjas here at exposure ninja
so all you need to do is head over to exposure ninja comm tell us a little bit about your business and we'll conduct a
review of your website your marketing and your competitors and we'll give you a prioritized action plan that you can
follow over the next 6 or 12 months to significantly increase your leads and sales through your website so it's
completely free of charge you go to exposure ninja comm and then you can go forward slash review and just fill in
the form and request your review anyway without further ado I want to unleash the legend John Carlton welcome to the
show John okay for a bit of a swollen head I've been
following you for a long time you're widely regarded is one of the world's leading direct-response copywriters
working about alongside people like Dan Kennedy and Gary Halbert in fact Gary once wrote about you in his letter said
something very nice so firstly thank you for coming onto the show to share your experience with direct-response copy
perhaps for people who are used to thinking of copiers a tool to make websites ranked you come from a very
different place then you come from place where copy is actually used to persuade people to buy so perhaps we can start by
your definition of what makes good copy well I am old school I have a foot in both worlds the old school world of
Direct Mail print advertising and really face to face salesmanship and I was a very early adopter of online marketing I
was one of the first guys on the web my blog goes back to 2004 so I've been I've been an enthusiastic participant in both
of those worlds and the one thing that hasn't changed in copy is the fact that it is salesmanship in print that that
was coined a long time ago a lot of the copywriters to the top copywriters you'll meet or you'll hear from or
probably deal with if you start to get into what we call the a-list which are writers that you can just go to you're
going to pay a lot of money if they're going to make the stuff work really well they are all steeped in writing about
copy that goes back to the 1920s and even earlier Claude Hopkins wrote in the 1920s and if there's like a secret Club
of direct-response copywriters who are really interested in what what the older principles are because those principles
never changed we we talk about somebody once found out that they were actually used chariot salesmen in ancient Rome
and we imagine they were using the same tactics that people use now to sell used cars there's there's a certain way to
persuade a human being and the general thing that we call it is salesmanship but really you're taken a human being is
one of the most reluctant stubborn skeptical animals on the planet it's almost impossible to get them to just do
what you want them to do so learning salesmanship is about learning persuasion it's about learning how to
bond and especially for direct response how to incite action whether it is click on this link or buy this product or move
to the next step in the process whatever it is you have to get people often they're asked to be able to
do that I talked about the typical client being a Sonnambula blob welded to the couch so firmly that he wouldn't you
know move to escape a burning house and you have to get him to pick up the phone or click on a link or somehow get his
wallet out and pull out his credit card and start is start to make the buying decisions that that make a business
thrive and it's not something simple it's very easy to get someone to say yeah you know that that's a pretty good
offer you got there that's that's pretty neat maybe someday down the road what I really really needed I think maybe I'll
remember give it a try that's easy to get to much harder is to get them to that oh wait on a second let me get my
credit card out don't you dare go away will I while I punch in all the numbers a huge territory between those two
states and most people only get to that point of just having people say yeah that's a really good product you got
there and they don't go any further so direct response is all about inciting action and it's not a simple thing to do
sure um I guess these days you know agencies like us are partly guilty of fueling this we're told that everything
has changed in marketing you know marketing 2.0 the marketing 3.0 and how this new Facebook Ads thing has come and
just changed everything yeah how much in your opinion has actually changed since the days of Claude Hopkins or since the
days of infomercial when it comes to copy and what actually makes people buy not a lot I have 20 year actually bolder
than 25 and even 30 year old ads that are still generating royalties for me they started out as direct mail pieces
or print ads in magazines or newspapers they when the web got going in the early aughts they got changed to web copy
pretty much verbatim and then when video sales letters started being the thing they got changed to video sales letters
very few changes in the copy the only changes in the copy were the response elements it's like here's what you need
to do now so rather than fill out this coupon or call this 800 number it's click on this link and things like that
so no changes on these things are still running they run regularly I get checks every month for them and so there and
nothing's really changed what are the advantages of understanding direct response copywriting is that most of the
advertising world has no clue what it's about they they certainly toss the phrase around and they can even talk
about maybe they've read a few books but they don't understand all of the implications and it's why the top direct
response copywriters are the highest paid writers in the world because they know how to translate good salesmanship
into print and make it work so the differences that have happened have yes there's the difference in in attention
spans yet a lot of the vs ELLs go up to 30 minutes there's a by the way I've changed my writing is I used to write
older writers like me we're trained to respect space because if you had an extra page and a direct mail piece or
you had a or your ad went longer in say a print ad in a magazine or newspaper you had to pay for that so we we tended
to write in large paragraphs and we tended to block things together on line you don't have to do that space is a
luxury that we all enjoy so I've gone to almost single sentence paragraphs and zipping people down because I want them
to move you know I want them to go down I know page and another page and other pages
they go I want to make it a breathless ride so certainly that it has changed but otherwise oh it's almost identical
to what it was before the web the main thing people don't understand about online marketing is that the web is just
a vehicle for your little salesman your ads or your little tiny salesman and when there was direct mail you put your
little salesman in an envelope and send them out into the world when they were magazine ad you put them inside the
magazine and send them out to all people who read the magazine now online you put them either in an email and send them
out or you put them online and send direct traffic to it but it's the same thing the the web is just a vehicle
there will be other vehicles coming along soon the only thing we haven't conquered is smell so if you know the
next big thing will be computers that can actually have smell involved which would be great for advertisers because
smell certain smells generate memories and you can block people into NLP you know memory sequences and things like
that so but otherwise it's just the web is a great vehicle because it combines visual it combines AV audio audio visual
if you could have just writing you can have streaming your video you can all kinds of different ways of doing it it's
still just a medium it's not that much different than television in print advertising and door-to-door people you
know knocking on the door and talking to you does that make sense yeah absolutely this aluminum blob just has a phone
rather than a TV remote controller a newspaper completely that's right so let's let's talk about website copy
specifically so website copies is often an afterthought we have a page that's designed and we know we need to fill it
with some kind of tags if we apply the the principles that you're talking about an invite good salesmanship in print on
a website what sort of difference can that make to the performance of a website also people think about you know
things like layout and having a nice clear call-to-action those are things that make an impact on a website but
actually if we look at the copy what's the impact that good coppy can have on a website's
performance you know you talking about you know putting blocks of coffee and that takes
him back to some of my first jobs back in the 1980s when I would go in and I would have to work with designers when I
was working with agencies and writing and the designer would present me a design and say here's where the coffee
goes he'd give me a little tiny space and this huge ad he said I I want coffee to be gray floating blocks of
distraction and so I he thought that design was going to work and that's when I learned to get a really hardcore about
stuff I used to get in their faces and they'd have to separate me from the designer I would refuse to work with
certain guys and I would challenge the client who was the agency to run my copy with no design at all just straight you
know typed letters versus whatever the other guy do and of course I would win every time and so you do fit you
eventually develop a a the top writers the a-list as I call them a right to prove themselves you know go to our
a-list writers they send me some samples maybe we'll hire you go to them and you beg them don't find as open space in
their calendar oh yeah over the next next year that's their price and the way they get to that point is by winning is
by is by actually making ads work so yeah the the battle between design and copy
will never end I used to joke about getting designers fired I was a designer for well I understand the designer
mindset there are a bunch of designers the top B a list of designers out there work for the largest mailers like like
oh I don't know if you guys know the financial Giants like Agora publishing and things like that the designers that
work for those guys are really steeped in direct response and they know that copy is king so they're going to make
their designs make the copy pop you're going to the designs are going to make make the copy is is the star of the show
and they're going to make that and everything else it the only job of every other element of the design is to make
the copy more readable and have more effect so some of these designers come in and they will help the copy they
start with a pretty much a block a copy that the writer writes and then whether they're doing a vesl or they're doing a
static page online they will add pictures they will add color they will they will change the fonts they will
they will indent certain things expand other things that will do other things but it's not for design it's for
readability and for the salesmanship that's going on so it's kind of like taking a raw Salesman you know I used to
joke that when I was training people I would rather take a near illiterate salesmen Street salesman and turn him
into a copywriter than to start with a professor with a you know a professor in a business school who's giving out
business degrees because he won't know how to sell it's more important to know how to sell you can dress that up you
can take the illiterate guy teach him to read you can you can change his clothes you can give him a haircut and clean him
up and put him out there he's going to know how to sell he's going to make that happen you start with the guy that looks
really good and try to teach him to sell that's a whole different ballgame and that's much much more difficult to do so
the advantage that direct-response people have is understanding salesmanship
it's the secret sauce to everything good that happens in business and smart people don't try to don't try to
throttle that in the least bit yeah sure so does it so for the listener who's thinking of my coffees probably not
up to scratch what are some of the I guess the biggest sins that you see people making today that they should go
and look through their website copy just taking it as an example to see if there's anything there that could be
holding back the performance of their site sure I I deal with this a lot in my coaching and I consult with a lot of
people and it almost always gets down to the actual copy it's not not being interesting not trying to persuade not
not bonding with the person not having a conversation read your copy out loud and then imagine your customer each each ad
that goes out there each time you write something whether it's an email or webpage or video or you send out direct
mail you're you're handling people one at a time I call that I to that already but it's just basically you and the
person you're talking to and you're trying to make a sale and the the attitude I want is if you've ever been
in a room you look over to say you're at a party look over and there's two people with chairs pulled face-to-face they're
leaning – they're leaning close to each other they're talking in hushed excited tones that's what I want my ads to do I
want that conversation now in most ads you can only have a one-sided conversation but if you have empathy if
you understand what's going on in your prospects mind then you can fill in the blanks and you can start to answer their
questions or or voice their questions so you can say right about now you're thinking I'm full of beans right and
then you answer that baby a baby monitor yes my little boy Luca is
that month no we having a great time yeah that's great that's great he's going to be a monster a marketer I can
tell absolutely yeah so where was L see so that conversation so take your copy whatever it is and imagine you're
sitting across from one of your hottest prospects and and you're part of the conversation is your copy read it out
loud and imagine the response that something's going to happen even better take it out and actually actually do it
to somebody actually read that to somebody and watch what their responses are if they're I start rolling or they
yawn or they make an excuse but leave the room then you're just you're just talking you're talking at somebody great
copy is talking with somebody there's bonding going on there's persuasion there's give and take there and again
tons and tons and tons of empathy and it's a it's a conversation it's a it's a it's two human beings having an
interaction and most people don't write that way they write in generalities you know or they write in platitudes so they
where they talk at people and and that's just a no-no have a freaking conversation with the most important
person in your life right now the prospect who just needs to be convinced enough to click on the link to send you
his credit card to do whatever the next step is you want if you can't convince a hot prospect to do that with the copy
you're using you're certainly not going to not you not going to persuade Luke warm or cold prospects
is it's going to feel quite scary for people to take this approach isn't it because I think there's an expectation
particularly on the website that everything needs to feel professional and it needs that we need to talk in
this kind of bland corporate tiring otherwise people are going to think you know less of our companies is that
something that you find yourself coming up against are you dealing with a lot of large companies like General Motors well
sometimes large companies do it but also smaller companies can be guilty of this because they look up to the large
companies and say ah we want to be big like General Motors so we need to talk like that
so I get this a lot in people people say what about my reputation I can I can't just be colloquial I can't use slang
stuff what about my reputation my answer is always the same what reputation if unless you're selling the heck out
unless you are dominant in the market then you don't have a reputation you're trying to get one you're trying to work
it out I don't care how many years you've been in business if you're going up against stop you know if you have a
brick-and-mortar store you're trying to sell furniture and you're worried about the way you're phrasing your ads because
because you see the big furniture store that with you know the big national furniture store not doing that then you
know you're you're playing a rigged game you're try you're going into their field and trying to play their game and you
don't know you don't know all the ins and outs make it your own game what is the best way in furniture sales I
actually worked with a guy at furniture sales many years ago and we got him to start doing really really personal ads
and he was just right he was having fun with it was making fun of the competition and he and he would do the
equivalent of of heavy pictures where he was actually Nicene a base sofa you cut the sofa and said this one's on sale you
know he's it first one down here gets it for 20 bucks and people were flooding a store because they loved salesmanship
the theater the the drama of it the spectacle so to think that your reputation is going to be harmed your
reputation matters to one person in your life and that ate your wife that isn't your kids that isn't your buddies down
at the pub that isn't anybody but the guy who's going to buy your product that's the person you want to worry
about and he wants to understand who he's dealing with he wants to be able to trust them people like to buy from
people they understand or think are like them or share their values people like playing talk they they don't like fancy
language that it's hard to understand they're not impressed with the fact that you can write at a college level
you know adds it got to be around fifth grade level I don't know what that is in British terms level level five or
something whatever I think it might be around like yes seven over here says it like 11 or
12 years old is that right yes cool so I generally write that's not a hard and fast rule I generally write a little
higher like like if you follow me on Facebook or go to my blog I will generally write to a to a college level
but only because I'm not selling at that point whenever I write for plan I'm selling I bring it way down and if I
have to explain something one of the five to use a large word or a phrase an industry phrase that I'm not sure they
understand that I always follow it with a parenthetical comment that says in plain English that just means and then I
talk in colloquial terms so always bringing it down to never assume they understand what you're talking about
you know huge thing that people do is when they think okay I'm going to start talking in slang or I'm going to start
talking colloquial colloquially and they start using phrases that are only well known among the insiders in the industry
forgetting that their customers aren't insiders that's why they're coming to you for help or to buy so you got to
keep explaining them never assume that they're as hip as you are your customer needs something is in some level of
trauma either because he needs what you have or he's been looking for you haven't ever found it or is worried
about the consequences of having it or not having it all kinds of things are going on in his head so he's not you
he's not he's not hip to all the details of this so you got a you got a make all this palatable to him and use language
to do it yeah for sure I think that approach is also quite disarming isn't it because it makes the reader feel this
person is just like me and they're not it doesn't feel like I'm being sold to necessarily or it doesn't feel like
someone's trying to manipulate me because it's all very cloak on plain English people who say don't want to be
sold it's perfectly understandable and in this modern age we are inundated with with with with ads and people you can't
turn around you can't even every time the phone rings now with it could be a robo call you know over over here in the
states where we get 70% of the calls receiving our cell phones are robo calls trying to sell us
or trying to scam us on on credit card stuff it's it's it's an epidemic and it's really bad so people feel like they
have to steel themselves against being sold but really if you become a problem solver as opposed to a salesman they in
their eyes you're still selling but you are you are you you understand their situation you understand what they're
going through you have a solution it's a solution they should probably jump on right now and if you do what I tell
marketers is that if you have the solution to your prospects problem or you or you have an answer to whatever is
ailing him in life or whatever is keep holding him back and you don't use every salesmanship tactic in the book to get
him to act then shame on you because you are not allowing him to have a better life he may need to be not knocked off
his game a little bit and left a little vulnerable and you may have to do a few strange excuse me I have a cold so my
ears plug enough you may have to pull out some tricks and things like you know there's only five left you got an answer
today or it goes away you know the next person not on the list gets it after you or any of those things that people kind
of cringe at we need to do this because again humans are stubborn they're skeptical they're cynical and they're
afraid of making a mistake if they buy something they're afraid of of having to go because they got to go and explain it
to their spouse a lot of times oh they got to justify themselves to the neighbor the guy so you have to arm them
for that you got to help them expect help them explain to others why this is a great deal why it makes so much sense
to do it this way and then when they they feel they can they can solve the problems of other people questioning
their judgment then they can start relaxing and thinking about how they're going to this is why we need such long
copy usually to make make the sale you have to overcome a lot of objections a lot of resistance and a lot of obstacles
in the person's mind to make even a small sale for sure when you're working on a client
campaign how do you what's your process for identifying what the top objections are going to be or do they just you just
know what they are instinctively know almost never do one of the advantages I had early on in my career was every job
was a new market a new product a new client I didn't start getting repeat clients until a couple of years down the
road I would work for agency so every job would be a new their client would be a new market and everything and when I
do things outside of agencies I was I was a freelancer for agencies when I was a freelancer in the general market I was
just taking every offer that came along so I was often faced with completely different markets and I would go read up
on it I would do it I would do the equivalent of a Google search back then then I going to the freakin library but
now I would do a Google search but I also do what I did at the very beginning which was simple research you interview
everybody you can you interview the boss if you're a writer and you're writing for somebody if you are the marketer and
you have to decide how to sell something new in your market or sales are down you have to rethink how to sell whatever it
is you have then you got to sit down you got to do your own research on your own market you're going to find out the
demographics of the people you're after but even more so than their age and income and where they live and all of
that it's the psychological stuff if you have any track record at all and this is what I would do with new clients I want
to interview the owner yes but I don't take what the owner says as gospel because he's often isolated from what's
going on so I want to talk to the feet in the street the salesman if he has any the guys are on the phone with people I
especially want to talk to the customer service I'm going to find out what the main complaints are I want to find out
what the main reason people ask for refunds are I want to find out all that good stuff that the owner often is
oblivious of and if you're the owner you better go and talk to customer service a lot all the time find out what people
are complaining about what their questions are things like that these are things you must address because people
who buy and ask for a refund if you can save those refunds by addressing those issues then
that's as good as another sale so rather than losing one going down one you you keep the sale that's like making a sale
and two people that you go out who are thinking who are one step sideways of them we're thinking yeah bye except I'm
not sure if it will fit my living room whatever the problem is then you address it hey you afraid this is not going to
fit in your living room do this take a tape measure out you know if you got more than ten feet you know get from the
wall something like that just just address those things so you know for for knowledge is is is a powerful weapon how
talking about powerful weapons the story behind a business or product I think there can be a lot of trepidation about
sharing that it's almost as if all people don't really care about the behind-the-scenes stuff is is the story
of a business or product something that you'd use and how do you tell whether it's going to be a useful sales asset
well usually the story does matter it's called an origin story if you're into
like Joseph Campbell if it a lot of copy writers get into psychology or NLP or certain things because they want to know
how people process ideas and how they think so psychology is use it but you only need
pop psychology really so what was the question exactly how often would you use a product or
businesses story and how do you tell if it's good that's right so so when I talk about the
origin story a lot of times it does make sense if you were a disgruntled employee of another large company you realize
that company was not meeting the demands or the needs of their customers and you formed your own company then that's it
that's a lock that's a great story you'll notice that a lot of people who sell services talk about the rags to
riches I was living in my car and blah blah blah I actually have a bet exact story it's a real story that I use in my
in my speeches that I give on stages around the world and and it does a couple of things it humanizes you it
also it also brings to the forefront just how powerful this stuff is if you have a rags to riches story or here we
started with almost nothing or anything like that you guys do you have shark tank over there yeah we're going to
target that is the equivalent Dragons Den so you have you have the British version though you'll notice a lot of
those guys go on and enable to to enable to in do it entice the the venture capitalist into funding them they will
tell their origin story here's why I'm doing this and there's a couple and you'll see them blow it sometimes too
because they will try to rely on raw emotion this is my last chance I took every penny I have into this and if this
doesn't work I'm destitute that ain't going to do it but if you say I put my heart and soul into this and when it
didn't work I kept after it and I made it work and I did all the stuff then you're going to get people said okay I
like that that's the kind of entrepreneurial spirit so there's that kind of thing there's
also the just the sheer bonding of letting people know that you're not a corporation you a corporate even a
corporation is other people it's like Elon Musk is is his corporations face and for better or worse
he he helps he helps personalize everything so when people have a Tesla is they see a test on the road oh
there's Ilan's you know you know odd automobile all all of the guys steve jobs all the guys that became faces
their personalities didn't have to be the kind of guy you'd want to sit down and have a beer with at the pub they
could be the kind of guy that yes i want him in charge of things or i believe that what he's doing so
[Music] the the orgeous date depends if you have a boring origin story you know yes I was
born with a silver spoon in my mouth I went to the finest schools my father gifted me this business you know than
that that's not a story unless you could turn it around and make fun of yourself at the end and I took that those gifts
and I immediately ran everything in the ground one day away from bankruptcy how did I turn it around I blank and then
you move on so yeah so it's it's it's kind of like you know the advertising is like a big cocktail party you got to
meet strangers and you have to you know one of the things we talked about with the USP which is the unique of unique
sales positioning term that you have is it needs to be a part of an elevator chat an elevator chat is you're in an
elevator going from the ninth floor to the ground floor with somebody who would be a hot prospect if you could only tell
him in that time from the ninth floor in the first floor what it is you do and what you offer so
let's say you're walking into an elevator on the ninth floor and the guy next to you is talking to another guy
and he says oh yeah I have this huge problem at work I block I don't have enough sales I don't whatever it is and
whatever he says is what you solve then you turn around you go excuse me I couldn't help overhear what do you say
in those seconds going from the ninth for the first floor to get him and get him interested enough to maybe say let's
talk more or to accept your business card and say yes I will definitely call you or to help him understand what's
going on most people can't do that it's very brief it's very it has to has to hit hard so you don't go into it yeah
when I started out you know I was born in a log cabin you can't do that in that very short period of time you have to
get straight to the point then when you get out of the elevator he says I'm interested in what else you got thinking
is then you can start that process of here's how we arrived here it's very interesting I used to be a bla bla bla
you stored for the CIA and then you know that got me into psychology and I learned how people are both well
whatever that story is so the top writers can take any story you have and turn it into an interesting hook
but a lot of people are too blinded by their own stories I used to find my best hooks and a hook is usually in a
headline that like grabs and goes what that can't be here you know what's this idiot talking about now I used to find
my best hooks by getting the the person who is running the company my client to talk about his old stories and he would
often say we have an old story about bla bla bla but I don't like tell him anymore because everyone's bored by it
and what he means is that his wife doesn't want to hear anymore his family's tired of hearing it his buddies
at the pub don't want to hear it his colleagues don't want to hear the stories anymore but his customer his
potential customers haven't heard that story yet and it was really powerful the first couple times he told it he just
told it too often so when I find those stories and it's often in the origins where they came from had a stumbled on
on the on the product or the idea of the formula or whatever there's often a fascinating story that gets ignored
because the owner is tired of telling it and everyone around him a close to was tired of hearing it so he thinks it's
good anymore so there's something about stories are just I noticed a lot of times at seminars when people are a bit
bored and they're playing on their phones and then as soon as the speaker starts telling a story they put their
phones down and they start watching donae and if it's you were saying about them they're having to justify the
purchase their partner it's often the story that they will take to their partner that just seems to say something
about stories which like shortcuts into people rather than just features and benefits I think before writing we
relied on stories for transferring information um your songs and stories and that's how you told people what the
seasons were about how to remember when the plant when to when to harvest when to hibernate you know when you know it's
but do we are wired that we are we are intrinsically wired to light and process stories it puts everything into
perspective for us so all top writers are great storytellers they may be short stories but the more
you can weave it together in a story this is how myths happened this is how legends help and this is how reputations
happen is by having a story you can relate to what's you know like Gary Halbert I think you mentioned that
people in you know know Gary Albert I was in homes Gary Halbert best friend for 30 years
the end people would discontinue tell if you get a hundred people who are Gary Halbert
fans in a room and you asked them to tell the story that kind of epitomizes Gary more than half will tell the same
story maybe 3/4 will tell the same story and the other ones will tell stories that the other ones will refer they'll
say yeah yeah I remember when he autoblog said this or he said that so stories are great memory enhancing
things and you can remember that even though people are being bombarded with advertising you still have to be
memorable out there you have to have some easy shortcut way for people to remember who you are to remember your
name your business name what it is you do because it's it's a people's minds are are being overwhelmed all the time
that's why you want people to act right now other eyes are on your webpage or on your ad or watching your you want them
to act right now because if they walk away salesmen know that the chances of making that sale just plummet
immediately for every minute that they that they do not act right away you're talking about losing 50% of your artists
in another 50 and another 50 in another yeah so true as you were talking about hooks I was just grabbing up some of
your ads I love the amazing secret discovered by one-legged golfer ads 50 yards to your drives eliminate six and
slice and say that's like a straight between the ice hook as soon as I see that I have to read that ad right I
guess today when you know you're imagining someone's recorded a video ad on Facebook so their audience is
scrolling through and then the video starts Auto playing if they got captions you've probably got like five seconds to
try and hook them with something like that how do if we talk about creating video
scripts and videos that sell how can we kind of replicate that big bold crazy headline that just entices people in a
video without this kind of hi my name is blah blah blah and all that kind of boring crap that people start videos
with like how do we take some of that magic and put it into video form well the way I write VSL scripts is the way I
write ads I have a helmet now in an air written ad you would see the bolder font you know heavier you know it's a
headline because it's a bold font like in a newspaper or something then a subhead and then you get into the copy
when you're speaking you use the same words you just you aren't saying a head like you you may phrase it slightly
differently like here's something you don't hear every day and then then you you bomb or write right into it but it's
the same same idea the same copy so so the way to understand that is to get as like the one-legged golfer ad to get a
lot of those ads together and look at them and try to try to understand what the magic that is going on a lot of that
that one-legged golfer ad appeared like a bolt of lightning out of nowhere in the very staid boring golf magazines we
went straight into golf magazines hundred grand a pop we have three pages nobody had ever done that they'd never
seen that the the the ad the media department at the magazine so this was Golf Digest I believe her golf magazine
the biggest one on the sands still the biggest one was sand they tried to talk my client out of
running this app they said this isn't going to work you know we don't want to take you they don't they didn't want to
take 100 grand from these guys because we didn't know it's going to work because that was the first Gulf and I
wrote actually and but I had a pretty good hunch it was going to work and they did and it worked like crazy so about
the third or fourth time they inserted that ad in a row in the magazine then the guys started saying why why do you
keep running this dog and then my client was just you know didn't say anything and they started moving it farther back
in magazine they started trying to do things to sabotage it because they felt it was bringing down the classiness of
their magazine but what what they what that ad did was talked to the regular golfer which is 90 percent of the
audience and what the magazine wanted to talk to was the ten percent of the guys who were young and athletic and had
windmill swings and were really good already and that's who that's where they imagined their readers were would when
in fact their readers were old fat arthritic and couldn't break a hundred to save their lives and that's the guys
we wanted we didn't want those athletic guys who wanted the guys who were intrigued by the idea of a one-legged
golfer oh my god what did you know what he knows maybe so ended the copy of that ad talks about I don't care what kind of
shape you're in and the next ad I wrote was about a guy who had who had arthritis he was like six years old I've
got to find that I'm not as a Brit in Wales away yeah I was like he humiliates PGA pros on the secret of the end it's a
true story that the pros play you know when they're not playing for the camera they played their own games and they
play with their own money if they lose they're not or if they win they're not winning a corporate sponsors might
either win and the other the other guy pulls out his wallet shells out you know 50 grand and this guy was beaten heck I
mean he was fat and he was overweight and his knees were were so you know the doctors wanted to operate immediately on
his knees and that was something that people could really identify with because most golfers like golf and most
golfers I know or older their backs hurt you know they don't have they don't have a windmill swing there there's a lot of
holes in a game they think well they were learn the inside stuff there so quickly
they can start humiliating those young guys that have been humiliating them so this was psychology this was common
sense all the stuff Kant came into play and it's like you and the thing about an ADD whether it's a vesl webpage and a
direct mail letter or something in the magazine or even face-to-face you have to be the most exciting thing he's seen
today you have to be the thing that gets his blood Moody I say his or his or hers you have to be the the one thing that he
remembers today that shocks him out of his complacency that makes that tsunami a blob sit up and go what and you know
to do that and you also have to remember that you know in a big in a big audience you're going to get maybe four or five
percent actually two to five percent of the people are going to respond to you if you can get five percent on it on an
ad that's running that's it that's a major hit that's a control and that means ninety five percent of the people
are paying no attention or aren't interested right now or you didn't somehow flip them so we're not talking
about going to an audience of 100 people and sell making a hundred sales you're going to make two to five sales so you
got a multi so then the game is is scaling your Brethren's try to sell 200 people who try to sell to a hundred
thousand people then the number sales go up and then you're off to the races but you're only garry hobby used to call it
sell to the foxes not the dogs don't worry about what the people who aren't going to buy think or say about your
stuff worry about what the people who might buy you know are going to say and make sure that they buy that's a very
very important difference in the way you look at your aunt the headline in that ad that you
referenced there how does an out-of-shape 55 year old golfer crippled by arthritis and 71 pounds overweight
still consistently humiliate PGA pros and heads head matches for hitting every tee shot further and straighter down the
fairway it's all true by the way and it is kind of funny isn't it to read it you're like sure and there's like a
super headline which says if petite women and twelve-year-old kids using the secret hit perfect drives over 250 yards
imagine what it can do for you are you ever scared that you've pushed it so far it becomes unbelievable
so that client I don't know if you know the story but I had actually retired from business for a little while I quit
working with I was working very closely with Gary Halbert I just took a break I took a couple years off and I formed a
three-piece rock-and-roll band and played in biker bars all over Northern Nevada and what's happened a lot of
funny just dabbling I was living off my royalties so I was living the life this client wanted me to write for them
they were desperate for me to write for them and I said and they said what will it take and I said you know a very high
percentage of every sale you make and you got to run everything I write they said we will do that we will run
everything you write word-for-word as you're writing we will take the heat the only thing they would would they might
want to negotiate certain legal claims but I'm very careful about legal claims anyway so what they did essentially was
take the leash off me up to that point I had never had an ad run got a clip for a client that the client hadn't stepped on
in some way hadn't changed a word in the headline hadn't changed some of the copy hadn't done some stuff they felt they
had to do it it's infuriating and it's what 99% of all copy writers go through they never get to see their stuff out
there as they know it should be done original login original state these guy said we'll do it and I said you're on
and we I wrote for them for one of 20 years and it was most fun I've ever had and I would and they started learning
how to find these hooks so after a while they started coming to me and they found they found a blind golfer there's
actually a blind golfing Association United States I had no idea existed they found a guy who was made the last spot
in the LA open it was 1989 la open I believe but he was on his deathbed the day before literally with pneumonia I
think I can't remember what it was and he got off and he crawled to a qualified for the last spot in the LA help that
made the headline and then they just started finding all these strange stories that I could do and these guys
had videoed the video teaching video or DVD of teaching programs where they could teach you how to chip
how to putt and things like that so every differs a lot in those programs out there but what sold them was the
story mm-hmm so the guy you know the guy who worked with a blind golfer and the blind golfer
taught him things he didn't believe that you know could could work but they worked and they were and he realized how
they could help you know people with good eyesight how they could take the same principles and here's the story
here's the product here off to the races so that went on so as far as pushing it too much I if well I got a call from
that client once and they said John you know the last two ads you wrote that we ran in Golf Magazine
they were also in bodybuilding and supplements and a bunch of different stuff but the golf was really rocking it
for a while there and they said the last couple of ads you wrote neither Russ nor I those were the two owners got
any sleep for like a week waiting for that ad to hit and when it hit you know then you know we were still nervous we
got some you know flak back and things like that but the ads worked really really well and he was leading up to
something he says the reason I'm telling you this is that this ad if we run this ad I'm going to sleep like a baby
tonight and he says so I want you to beef it up so he came back to me and he said make
this more dangerous because he knew that he was going to sleep well when that ad was submitted it wasn't going to do as
well as the other one so because that was that was some interesting stuff so no I have an internal monitor I'd
I'm very empathetic with people a very sympathetic so I understand people and I live a hard life so I understand this
stuff so I have an internal governor that warns me when I'm going too far that said Gary Halbert I used to ride
our best headlines by starting up going too far we would write headlines of stuff that no way would they would
really love the real world there'd be swearing in them sexual innuendo there would be horrific stuff but from that
the genesis of the idea what if we could sort of say that but not in those words what if we could make people think there
was a sexual element here or make people understand the sexual or make people understand these things but not say if
so couches so we would walk it back we'd start out over the line and walk it back till we're just inside the line and
that's the perfect headline most people there write ads they start meek and they try to beef it up that doesn't so if we
want to study the most unfiltered John cotton possible go and check out the golf ads is that we the same
Golf and the self-defense ads yeah one of them are included in my books and stuff yeah so you know I know
if you're giving people my blog or yes you're telling them yeah we link all of that stuff from the shanae's show good
so if you go to a blog my book sir or offer there the blog is by the way the archives are all free and it goes back
to 2004 so that's a and I talk about a lot of this stuff it's all it's all aimed at
entrepreneurs and writers and marketers and business people so it's a hell of a result is one yeah I'm cool are you okay
for another 5 minutes Jones all right sure awesome um so I want to ask you about
emails um I know that you know whether it's the a pile or be pale I think Dan Kennedy's had people sorting their mail
over the waste pipe papers I was Gary Halbert I go hammer party for speech and the kind of story behind that was if you
don't stand out when you're sending people man you're not even going to get read so what's in your sales letter is
completely pointless obviously nowadays we have email and the same kind of principles apply but now
we've got things like Gmail actually filtering out your emails so you don't even get through to people in the first
place how can people cut through the noise in such a kind of brutal world now how can
we actually get our emails read and news things like compelling headlines well dean jackson had the most brilliant
when you you know that game here okay so dean jackson talks about the seven word headline you know are you still looking
for a house in you know cleveland ohio something like that so by by asking intriguing questions by
by tapping into what what the prospect is thinking if you're using house lists you should know what those people are
thinking about what their concerns are house lists can be half-half prospects have customers mostly customers mostly
prospects doesn't matter they've already responded they've gotten on your list you're writing to them that's a chance
to be very very personable how do you get a how do you get grandma to open an email how do you get how do you get your
buddy of you know who's going to meet you at the pub beyond next Friday to open your
email how do you get how do you get people you know and care about to open your emails what kind of subject lines
yeah do you do boring stuff like here's an interesting way to save five bucks on your next shopping spree you know no you
don't do that to the buddies to the guys you know a lot of times it's the outrageous headlines or some version of
you have got to see this something like that or the email subject line is what's most important of course and that is a
mini headline and it's a small short headline Twitter was great when it first came out with the was it 140 whirl of
character count yeah because it forced people to get really really compact and they're thanking Google AdWords when
they came out now it's just Google advertising but and when AdWords first came out then you
know the definite limits what you can do in an ad the line one line two and then line three forced people to start
getting really pithy and start thinking about what they're doing an email is the last refuge of this it's people can
still write longer subject lines but they'd always show up in your inbox or said who else and then there's nothing
else I'd say so you got a you got to think about how how fast you can get in there and and you do you you want to be
the most interesting thing that read the day you want to you want to you want to needle the points that hurt you want to
argue what you want to offer some kind of a story you you want to get in there's all kinds of things you can use
in your emails depending on your relationship with the list if you're going to cold people if you're somehow
got an email list where everyone's cold they haven't heard of you then you got to be you have to approach that as
you're walking into a big party and no one knows who you are no one cares who you are no one's going
to introduce you or try to get somebody to introduce you that's third party validation often that can be you know
here's why Bob's friend if you're going to Bob's list there's why Bob Smiths here's why Bob Smith stocks my ads for
example you know if you're going to Bob Smith's list for example something like that so there's all these different ways
but you have everything the most thought has to go into the end of the subject line to get people in then you continue
the story you don't abruptly say ha now that I've got your undivided attention here's the
old joke about the guys who used to run of ads in the classifieds that would say sex and that says now I got your
attention about this insurance you know opportunity yeah you can't do that although you can try it but you'll
generate he'll will but you just got to think about what can you say that will get someone's interest a head-turning
interest so you walk into a party you say something and people turn around and they look at you it's your job to
understand what irks them what excites them what they hate what they love what they what they're most interested
it what kind of pain they're going through things like that so you don't try to come in in a roundabout way or
lack of days or you come in and you shock people or you let people know you know what they're thinking or you you
know you you you start a conversation that's going to be the most exciting thing that's happened to them today even
an email far as length of email I do both short and long sometimes very short ones leads to a link and then it takes
off so the job of the email is to get them hit the link to go to the blog or somewhere else where the main the main
sales pitch happens so the job of the emails just to get them to hit the link that's all I'm thinking about not
thinking about the sale nothing sometimes the email does some selling if the email is doing the selling then it
needs to be a lot longer and if the story has to be more intense and you're essentially doing a very long email if
Nathan's work they generally don't work as well I do in between emails mostly just don't you know I keep everything
very pithy I deliver what I need to deliver and then I either send them to a link or I try to make the center work
right away antastic thank you John I want to ask you finally about becoming a better
writer there going to be a lot of people who have listened to this and feel inspired to improve their own copy and
folks like yourself or from work from what are called swipe files which is maybe your collection of ads or copy
that you like has been successful so when you're sitting down to write and where there's an email or a Facebook ad
or a Google ad or whatever you have something to work for for people who are aspiring to be as good at their craft as
you are how important is a swipe file and how do you kind of start compiling it is it just stuff that you like or
stuff that you've tested or stuff yeah you know it has to be controls you have to understand what the control as a
control is an ad that goes out and it works and the larger companies are always running competing ads against it
either a/b split test or a B a B C split test they're always running other ads trying to beat the control so the
happiest day in a business owners life is when he has has the first control he has an
and that worked it brought back a profit and it worked really well now his next job is to knock that off to write
another ad that will be better than that at maybe a different writer maybe the same writer maybe a different idea
whatever keep trying to do that and then when that one becomes a control then the next one comes along so swipe files
shouldn't you should always know what the results were of the ad try to find out in the old days if you saw an ad
appear in a magazine over and over again you could assume it was a winner because they wouldn't run a loser online it's
how long the things are by often not often I have gotten clients to call competitors before and just ask them hey
I just know you guys are running a new ad is that working and the person on the phone said yeah it's the best dad we've
run yell in six months and if that's fair that's you know I yeah they're in love for us and that kind of that kind
of research counts it when I was doing direct mail I used to get some of the best direct mail I had an end to what
was working or knocks I knew people who knew people at the agency so I would find out so I never tried to tear apart
research and losers I would look at them and and maybe try to see what went wrong but the ones I studied were the winners
and I'd break them down where you know what is he saying here how is this leading me to the next part a little
things like that so if you can get controls and usually it's by repetition how often they you see them or try to
find out if they worked then you know there are some top writers some a-list writers who only right from their swipe
files if they will reach out and they'll pick up my you know one-legged golfer ad and they're selling mousetraps now or
they're selling said you know insurance and they'll say how could I make that work for insurance what could I change
and they'll actually sort I actually gave a seminar about I don't know ten years ago called license to steal and I
actually taught people how to take Maya's chip just my ads and convert them to whatever they were doing so it
doesn't matter that I was selling golf if you say a the one-legged golfer so the
one-legged golfer if you're selling mousetraps it's going to be something about a guy who is in pest control or
something like that and something on like the blind pest control guy or you know whatever so you
can fit that in so you begin to you understand the little chunks of sales or shift that happen to headlines and copy
all the way through the entire process you say I could I could use that for whatever I'm doing and yeah there are a
number of writers not all of them most of us like to do original stuff but some writers just rely on their swipe files
for inspiration for ideas on headlines and for actual actual headlines with just a few changes to make a work for
them nations yeah absolutely makes hundred percent sense I think the tendency can
be just to grab things that we like and of course like you don't really know if that works you kind of need to get
calibrated first thing you don't want to copy a loser for sure you go what's a great word thank you so much John this
has been amazing yeah thank you so much for time I want to respect your time and we wrapped up with now with an hour so
where can people find out more about you follow your blog and of course regio awesome book yeah just go – John –
Carlton calm it's Jo hm – ciear LTO and calm that's the blog and it's going to be the one stop place you can find out
about consulting all of my books are listed there and again the archives are free and they go back to 2004 and I
would suggest that you sign up at the very top there's a free special report something about eleven blunders and you
sign up there and you will be alerted to when there's a new blog post and you can find out other things that's going on if
I'm going to be speaking somewhere I'm going to be holding a mastermind in some city you'll find out about it and that's
the best way is to get on my list and you know take it from there awesome go go to the blog and feast that
would be the little bit so thank you so much for your time today buddy much appreciated

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